We are thrilled to announce alongside our partners Contact & People’s Palace Projects that The Agency, our project supporting young change-makers across the UK, has been awarded £1.28m by The National Lottery Community Fund.
This joint creative entrepreneurship programme enables 15-25 year-olds from some of the most underrepresented areas in the UK, to take the lead in creating social change projects based on the needs they identify in their own communities. Over the next five years this grant will continue supporting socially-conscious entrepreneurs in London and Manchester and enable The Agency to develop and expand its reach. With this funding, an additional 580 new young people will be recruited from underrepresented areas across England, with funding for 87 youth-led social change projects in these communities.
Over the past eight years, The Agency projects directly engaged almost 23,000 community participants and audiences. In total, 355 young people across the UK have gone through The Agency methodology, with 104 Agents going on to lead 60 social enterprise projects in Manchester, London, Cardiff and Belfast.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to support innovative projects, like The Agency, to help empower young people and give them the opportunity to realise their potential. We look forward to seeing the positive impact these young entrepreneurs will make in their local communities thanks to the training and skills support they’ll receive through our funding.”
Rachel Stephens, Head of Partnerships, The National Lottery Community Fund
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, the programme was ongoing in Manchester, London (Battersea and Brent), Cardiff and Belfast. All five projects were quickly adapted to be delivered online, to guarantee support and continuity for the young people on the programme. Online sessions were also opened to Agency alumni, as it became clear that programme graduates would likely need support during this time. A series of national zoom events were hosted to bring young Agents from across the UK together.
During challenging year, our 2020 Agents in Battersea have continued to push forward and adapt to the difficult circumstances presented by the pandemic, and have developed three powerful projects bringing about change in their communities.
During their time on the Agency, each Agents goal has been to reconnect and bring people together through creative outlets, providing a response to the rising demand for positive safe spaces, both virtually, and (when possible) physically.
Here’s a list of the projects developed on The Agency this past year: